The idea for the app came to me when I visited Forum Romanum in Rome.
I was sitting in the shadows waiting for my friend to return, and I was watching the visitors at the Roman Forum. Everyone, including me, was carrying a book about Rome and a map given for free at the entrance, which had absolutely no information about the buildings at all. Furthermore, many of them brought printed papers from home which explained the use of the ancient buildings – some visitors had even paid the ridiculous high price for an audio guide that matched the free map from the entrance… Most importantly though, everyone was using their smartphones to take pictures, and then the idea hit me – Why not put all that stuff everybody was carrying around into the smartphones which everybody seemed to bring along anyway?
So the mission was clear, and the goal was set. We wanted to enrich people’s visit to the excavation site and give them simple access to as much reliable information as possible, and we wanted to do it at a cheap and affordable price… only thing that remained was how to do this.
Back home in Copenhagen, things were set in motion. The first prototype was a website which covered Forum Romanum and Ostia. However, in order to avoid getting extremely large phone bills for data transfer, you need to be offline when visiting the sites, so a web based solution didn’t really fly. We did, however, get a lot of valuable know-how from doing the site, so it wasn’t a complete waste.
The next step was the app, and Forum Romanum was first in line. It was available in the late summer of 2014. The first release was for Android devices, but soon after it was available on both Android and Apple devices. Today I am proud to say that we now cover 8 excavation sites, ancient cities and fortifications around the world, and more are already in the making, including the Forbidden City in Beijing and the Copenhagen Citadel. Coming up is also a brand new design of the user interface, making it even more simple to plan your visit to the site, use the audio guide and navigate the museum/site you are visiting.
Please check out the apps and let us know if you have any ideas or suggestions that might improve them.